Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Ultimate Cliff Lee Graph

All those super smart sabermetricians have been force feeding the internet with stats and graphs that "support" the notion that Cliff Lee is still a great pitcher despite his escalating ERA and the fact that he has ZERO wins.  Um, no.  Go ahead and BABIP, FIP, and xFIP until you raise your Jolly Roger, because this hombre ain't having it.  But to be fair, I have created my own handy-dandy bar graph that shows some of the numbers that others are ignoring...you, know, like the ones that matter.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Series Preview - Marlins

Phillies (36-42) at Florida Marlins (35-40)

Pitching Matchups:
Friday - 7:10 - Cliff Lee v. Josh Johnson
Saturday - 4:10 - Cole Hamels v. Mark Buehrle
Sunday - 1:10 - Oh no, it's Joe - Ricky Nolasco

What Happened To...
Hanley Ramirez? In his first five years in the majors, Ramirez hit .313 with a .906 OPS. In his last 170 games, he's hitting only .250 with a .778 OPS. What happened to Hanley?

Did They Overpay?
The Marlins gave Jose Reyes $106 million over the next six seasons. Reyes is hittting .269 with a .727 OPS. And I'm not surprised. Last year Reyes posted an OPS 100 points higher than his career average.  Reyes is a good player, but why would anybody except a player entering his thirties to change his career trends? And Reyes' career has been filled with injuries, inconsistencies, occasional great seasons, declining speed and pompous showboating. Just like the Jayson Werth deal, this was a bad contract the day it was signed.

What I'm Listening To:
Everclear - Invisible Stars - I was in my teens when Everclear released "Sparkle and Fade" and "So Much For The Afterglow." While I was mostly listening to punk rock and the Wu Tang Clan during this time, these two albums (along with the indie label release "World of Noise") made Everclear my favorite band. I've only listened to this album once but this album is basically an attempt to recreate 90's era Everclear, even re-working a few of the hooks from previous songs. And they do a pretty good job. As an Everclear fan, I'm excited. However, if I wasn't an Everlcear fan I would think to myself, "Why don't I just listen to the the 90's albums they made in the 90's and ignore this 'new' stuff?"

What I'm Drinking:
Woodford Reserve - I've recently shifted my focus away from Irish whiskey to bourbon mainly due a bottle of Woodford Reserve that was given to me as a gift. Unlike beer, I'm not very good at picking out the fine flavors of whiskey, but I do know when one is good and this stuff is liquid gold. [If any whiskey drinkers read this, give me some recommendations in the comment section. I don't know what to try next...]

--------------------------------------------


Raul Valdes, Starter?
I've been a little busy the past week so I haven't had time to rant on the Phillies, and even though I'm a little late I have to talk about one thing - that Raul Valdes start was some serious bulls**t.

No offense to Raul or all the people that love that 34 year old no-talent reliever, but he isn't a major league starting pitcher. He's not even a minor league starting pitcher. And the fact that a major league baseball team, let alone one that theoretically is supposed to contend for a playoff spot, cannot find a qualified pitcher to start a game, really grinds my gears.

Isn't this the reason organizations have AAA teams? Is Lehigh Valley basically Dom Brown, Frenchy LeReliever and a bunch of useless players that will never play for the Phillies?  If so, what's the point?

And it's not like they didn't have room for a spot starter. I could see if there wasn't room on the 40 man roster or there wasn't a guy available to send down. But the team designated Chad Qualls a few hours later. Why didn't they do that earlier so they could bring somebody up to start?

And it's not like they didn't have somebody deserving of a spot start. Tyler Cloyd is 8-1 with a 2.11 ERA. I don't know if Cloyd will ever make it as a starter in the majors, but nobody will know if he never gets a chance. And is there any better time to give a 25 year old starter with a stellar AAA ERA a chance then in a game where you don't have a starter? Hell, even Dave Bush would have given the team a better chance to win.

Amaro dropped the ball on this one and it may have cost the Phils a win.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

2 Losses and 2 Wins in 2 Days

The Phillies may have lost the last two games of the Pirates series, but I argue that in those same two days they had two big wins.

Huh?!?!?!?!

11-7 loss yesterday.  Michael Martinez optioned to Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs- win.

5-4 loss today.  Chad Qualls designated for assignment- win.

Sure, falling further back in the standings stinks, but getting rid of those two pieces of garbage is a major coup.

Thome Calls Chooch An "SOB"

chooch sob

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's About Freaking Time...

Uts Is Back

Stats & Other Stuff

*Carlos Ruiz, with a .361 batting average, is the MLB leader.  Vote Chooch for 2012 NL starting catcher.

*Baltimore Orioles 1B/3B/DH Chris Davis, has more wins this season than the 3rd highest paid pitcher in the game Cliff Lee (Davis- 1, Lee- 0).

*The Phillies are 9th in the Majors with 330 runs scored, despite having no Utley or Howard, and piddling OPS from Victorino (.716) and Mayberry (.662).

*The Phils have the 3rd most hits (707) and 5th highest batting average (.266) in the Majors.

*They've drawn the 4th lowest amount of walks (194) and have struck out the 4th lowest amount of times (485).  This happens with hack-happy batters like Pence, Rollins, Victorino, Polanco, Ruiz, etc. that make frequent contact.

*They are successful in 85% of their stolen base attempts.  Eat that Davy Lopes!!!

*Their staff ERA is 4.00, which ranks 16th in the Majors.  No Halladay with more KK, mediocre Lee, Bad Blanton, a horrific bullpen, and a poor defense are the reasons for this.

*Despite all the struggles of the pitching staff this season, they have the most strikeouts (628) and issued the least amount of walks (187).

Other Stuff:
*Brian Schneider is out 3-5 weeks with an ankle sprain he suffered blocking the plate the other day. Erik Kratz will serve as the backup catcher.

*Chase Utley returns to the Phillies lineup tonight. Last season I was excited for this, this season I'm indifferent.  Don't get me wrong, seeing him at 2nd base is a helluva lot better than Mini-Mart or Galvis, but two years in a row of this stuff has dampened my enthusiasm.

*Raul Valdes gets the start today.  I'd love to see him reel off 4-5 shutout innings.  He's an underdog I pull for.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

J-Roll Performs The Howard

Congratulations to Jimmy Rollins for producing the Phillies first Howard of the season. For those of you not "in the know" (and seriously where the hell have you been), The Howard is any time a player hits a homerun, strikes out, and commits an error all in the same ball game. Last night's Phils win featured two Howards; one by Young James and the other by the enemy Jose Tabata.

J-Roll has been heating up in June and especially of late. That is 4 homeruns over the last 5 games. He's now hitting close to his career norms (.268/.734 in 2012, .272/.760 career). And yes, that is a picture of Rollins with Ke$ha.

Other Stuff: 
*Crashburn Alley did a post yesterday on how Cliff Lee is still great. No offense to them, but they really are too wrapped up in stats. Lee has not been great, and it's not just because he's winless. He's had some shitty games, games in which he was supplied some runs. He's had some great games too, but a 3.72 isn't great, despite whatever your defense is behind you.

These people that try to explain EVERYTHING with stats drive me nuts. Stats are fun, I like them. I read box scores every day. But thinking they're the end all, be all is just silly. Side note- comparing Lee's 2012 season to that of Cole Hamels "unlucky" 2009 is unwise if you're trying to make a case for supporting Lee's greatness. Hamels admittedly didn't train properly during the offseason following 2008 and wasn't mentally or physically prepared for '09. He wasn't unlucky, he was mediocre...the same thing Cliff Lee is right now.   Not good.  Not bad.  Just okay.

*Tonight's Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs game is sold out.  It is also Chase Utley's supposed final rehab game before he joins the Phillies lineup on Wednesday.

*Carlos Ruiz is still good.  Very good.  At age 33 he is hitting .354/.983 while catching nearly every day.  Impressive.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Double Header, Double Pleasure?

Rewind time to last season...Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee on the mound for a double header.  Confidence of sweep in favor of the good guys- high.  Now, back to present day.  Confidence level- low.  My fantasy team could use a complete game shutout from Ol' Girl Parts and Lee needs to get a win (it's nearly July for crying out loud!).  Game 1 start time has been pushed up to 1:05 (previously 1:35).  Sweeping the double header, and therefore the series, would be a big boost to an otherwise demoralized squad.  Does the climb back to .500 begin today?

*Jim Thome became the all-time leader in walkoff homeruns, now with 13.  He was also supposedly paid $5000 for bailing out Papelbon's blow save.

*Chase Utley is rumored to be returning to the Phillies this Wednesday. I hope that doesn't mean Mike Fontenot is sent  to Lehigh Valley with Michael Martinez remaining.  Mini Mart is bad.  Really, really fricken bad.  He does not belong on a MLB roster and probably not even a Triple-A one either. 

*Did you see Raul Valdes spinning 2 innings of magic yesterday?  Yeah, I like him.  He's really nothing special, but I've taken a liking to him because of his performance in a small sample size and the raw deal he got from the Phils a couple weeks ago.  This kind of reminds me when Chris Coste was getting screwed and then finally got a chance for his 15 minutes of fame.

*With yesterday's win, the Phils climbed out of last place.  For this I would like to thank the over-hyped Miami Marlins for sucking worse that my beloved Phightins.

*Remember when Placido Polanco had his average up to .294 a couple weeks ago and people thought he was actually still good?  Yeah, back down to .269 with a .653 OPS.  Of course, it's not as bad as Ryan Zimmerman's .218/.590 season.  Looks like Washington may have inked another bad long-term contract (previously Jayson Werth).

*Juan Pierre .328/.765 with 16 SB.  Not something I saw coming.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Series Preview - Rays

Tampa Bay Rays (38-31) @ Philadelphia Phillies (33-38)

Pitching Matchups:
Friday, 7:05- James Shields vs. Winless Lee
Saturday, 4:05- Alex Cobb vs. Oh no, it's KK
Sunday, 1:35- David Price vs. Cole Hamels




The Crocodile Hunter Killer's Batting:
R - 295 (18th)
AVG - .234 (27th)
OPS - .697 (24th)

Luke Scott, team RBI leader, is on the DL.  Matt Joyce, team homerun/OPS leader, is banged up and day-to-day.  Evan Longoria is still on the DL.  Carlos Pena sucks (.599 OPS).  Ben Zobrist doesn't like hitting for average (.230).  BJ Upton isn't worth the hype (.267/.719).  In other words, this is a struggling offense, but will still probably put up a 10-spot in the KK game.

The Crocodile Hunter Killer's Pitching:
ERA - 3.49 (6th)
WHIP - 1.24 (6th)
BAA - .235 (3rd)

Great pitching, even without the services of pine tar cheating Joel Peralta.  All three of the Rays starting pitchers this series are quality, Price being the best.  Closer, Fernando Rodney, is having a pretty amazing season so far with a 1.10 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 20 saves.

Their Michael Martinez:
Starting catcher, Jose Molina, is hovering right around the Martinez-line, batting .198 with a .622 OPS.  At 37 years old, it was inadvisable to rely on the lesser of the Catching Molina Brothers to be a consistent and solid contributor, but that's what happens when you're penny-pinching like the Rays.

Their Danys Baez:
JP Howell and his 5.57 ERA get this dishonor, but even he is serviceable as a lefty specialist.

What I'm Listening To:
Pandora's Ramones Punk station on my new Android Smartphone.

What I'm Drinking:
A hoppy red/blonde ale by Goat Rodeo Brewing.  Codename: Bi-Polar Bear Ale.

Magic Number Watch:
Just gave birth to its third child and is on maternity leave.

Prediction:
Cliff remains winless, Phils get swept.  Woe is us.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sometimes Baseball Makes Me Angry

I'm going to stray away from the Phillies business today. I hope everyone can handle not discussing the greatness of the Fightins for one day. Instead, I'm just going to point out a few things I saw in the last few days that kind of made me angry.

1) I was perusing the vast wasteland that is Facebook and I came across this post at the official page of the New York Yankees.



Queuing up a clip of one player striking out three times and posting it on a social network is probably an unnecessary piece of propaganda, but I wouldn't have batted an eye if it wasn't for that tacky headline. Pettitte takes Harper 'to school?' Really? Poor, out-dated trash talk on Facebook? I thought the great Yankees would be above that sort of classlessness.

So, I think the Nationals should respond. They should post the exact same video with the title, "One of these players is 19. The other is an admitted steroid user who contributed to destroying the integrity of baseball by jamming needles into his buttock and spends time between starts testifying to grand juries because his friends are also lying cheats. Enjoy."

2) Speaking of classless, lying, cheaters, Roger Clemens was acquitted of perjury charges earlier this week. He stood on the steps of the courthouse and cried while people applauded. Wow.

Hey Roger, congrats on not going to jail but this verdict doesn't change anything else. You're still a adulterous, slimeball, steroid junky cheat who just might be a pedophile also.

And what the hell were those jokers applauding? I mean, I'm fine that Roger Clemens isn't going to jail. What would that prove? How would we be safer with him locked up? This whole thing is a joke and the government employees responsible for this taxpayer funded circus should be fired (fire a government employee! that's my best joke of the year...). But to stand out there and applaud a man with little to no redeeming qualities because he was acquitted of something he was obviously guilty of is a little ridiculous.

3) Mark Appel might be an ass.

The Pirates selected the Stanford righty with the 8th pick in this year's draft. Some predicted he may go first overall but he slipped to the Buccos at 8. Depending on who you believe, this was either because of 'sign-ability' issues or that he just didn't have 1st overall pick talent.

Directly after the draft, Appel couldn't find a few minutes to take a conference call with Pirate media, citing something about school and preparation for the NCAA playoffs. I was going to call him out for being an ass, knowing that a college student should be able to squeeze a 1/2 hour phone call into his day, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I think I was wrong.

In the last few days, a report from Jayson Stark notes that one executive responded with "I don't see how," when asked if the Pirates will get him signed.

Now, there's still time. Maybe he will sign. But if he doesn't, he's an ass. An ass who could only throw 55 strike out of 95 pitches in his first and only start in the NCAA playoffs. Just think if he would have taken that conference call, he might have lasted only two terrible innings instead of four.

And as for Major League Baseball's role in this, didn't they enact new draft rules that limits what teams can spend through the first ten rounds? Wasn't that supposed to help this sort of thing? If Appel doesn't sign with the Pirates, he should have to re-enter the draft next season and no matter where he is drafted, he shouldn't be allowed to get a signing bonus bigger than the Pirates offer him this year. If he doesn't want to play in Pittsburgh, that's fine, but he shouldn't be able to make money by screwing them over.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bad Galvis

Bad Galvis:
We Should Be GMs was right again. Yeah, we have a pretty good track record with this sorta stuff. Anyway, we were correct in our analysis of Freddy Galvis- can field, but can't hit. Turns out, he really can't hit as he was aided by PEDs, so his .617 OPS looks even more pathetic now.  Especially considering his OPS was mostly "inflated" due to all those extra base hits (19), which means it would have been even more paltry without the banned substance coursing through his veins.  Corey and I do not support this kid.  We are appalled at his use of PEDs and believe his punishment should go beyond the one being given to him from MLB.  See, there is a loophole that Galvis will be exploiting, in that his 50-game suspension can be served while he's on the DL (which he currently is due to a back fracture).  That's bullshit!  Send the kid down to the minors when he returns; send a "no tolerance" lesson to the youngsters (since that's where he belongs anyway).

Of course Galvis is peddling the same old cliche crap of "I have not and never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance. I have always tried to follow the team's strength and conditioning methods, listen to the trainers, work out hard and eat right. Unfortunately, the rules are the rules and I will be suspended."  Sure, it's your lie, tell it how you want.

He also had this nugget of joy- "I'd like to apologize to my all my fans, especially here in Philadelphia and back home in Venezuela, to my teammates and to the Phillies organization. I am looking forward to putting this behind me, rehabilitating my back and returning to the Phillies as soon as possible to try to help them win another World Series."  Well, I'm not going to let you put this behind you, as I'll boo your ass from my comfy couch and ridicule you on this blog.  What he did was wrong, and shouldn't be so easily forgiven/dismissed.  Oh, and the part about the World Series made me chuckle...as if!

And In Other News:
*Michael Martinez still sucks.  Really, he's horrible.  Babe Ruth swinging a toothpick would have a better batting average than Mini-Mart's (currently .172 and dropping).

*Chooch has the 3rd highest AVG in the NL (.358) and 5th highest OPS (1.003).  In case you haven't done so yet, Vote Chooch.

*John Mayberry has 4 homeruns in his last 5 games.  This is a welcomed resurgence from what has otherwise been a terrible 2012 campaign from Jr.

*Don't expect David Herndon back anytime soon (to some that is good news).  He had Tommy John Surgery as is out for a minimum of 1 year.

*I'd like to trade Jim Thome to an AL team in need of a DH (Baltimore?) and in return get a bullpen piece.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Series Preview - Rockies

Philadelphia Phillies (31-37) v. Colorado Rockies (25-40)

Pitching Matchups:
Tuesday, 7:05 - Cole Hamles KK v. Josh Outman
Wednesday, 7:05 - Oh no, it's Joe v. Alex White
Thursday, 7:05 - Vance Worley v. Jeff Francis

All three starters for the Rockies have ERAs over five and a half. The Phillies likely will score less than three runs a game...

Mountains Batting:
Runs - 329 (3rd)
Avg - .265 (7th)
Slug - .450 (3rd)

It's Colorado, so everybody hits. WooHoo.

Mountains Pitching:
ERA - 5.35 (30th)
WHIP - 1.62 (30th)
BAA - .298 (30th)

Soooooo, the Rockies may have a pitching problem...

I know that pitching in Coors Field is a royal bitch, but this staff would be bad in any ballpark. Ten different pitcher have started a game for the Rockies and not a single one has an ERA under 4.70. Half of the ten have ERAs over seven. Seven!

Their Danny Sandoval:
Who doesn't hit in Colorado? Apparently, infielder Chris Nelson, who's hitting a mere .236.

Their Danys Baez:
As bad as the starting staff has been in Colorado, the bullpen has been pretty decent. Adam Ottavino, Rafael Betencourt, Matt Belisle and Josh Roenicke have all been solid. Esmil Rogers had an 8.06 ERA but somehow the Indains traded for him last week. So, I guess I'll give the award to Rex Brothers, who is actually only one person, and has a 4.24 ERA.

What I'm Listening To:
There are no bands that I know of from Denver, or even Colorado, that are any good. Thankfully, the Bouncing Souls released a new album last week.

What I'm Drinking:
Coors Banquet Beer - I love this stuff. There are a few macro-brewed beers out there that I just love and this is one of them. Original Coors is just plain, simple beer. There's absolutely nothing special about it. You want hoppy beer? This isn't it. You want roasted malts and full body? Keep looking. You want generic, thirst quenching, bubbly brew that tastes even better once you hit the second twelve pack, then this Buds Coors is for you.

Magic Number Watch:
The Phillies magic number moved to Pittsburgh.

Prediction:
I guess one win is better than none...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Here's What I Think...

- I think that Cliff Lee doesn't have a win because 1) the team has generally played like garbage this year and especially during Lee's starts and that has cost him wins 2) Lee hasn't pitched well enough in some games to get the win.

The reason I felt the need to make the above statement is due to the recent increased intensity of the argument between those who feel that Lee is under-performing an those who blame the winless season on poor team play and bad luck. While it should be obvious that Lee's winless season is due to a combination of these reasons, there are still a lot of people who feel that it is one or the other. These people, on both sides, are idiots.

Lee is still a great pitcher. He's pitched a handful of great games that deserved to end in a 'W' for Clifton. He has 77 Ks in 77 innings and 1.12 WHIP. In the words of the late Al Davis, "He a great player. Get over it."

However, if you feel that Cliff Lee is absolved of responsibility for his poor record because of his xFIP, or SIERA, or because of 'bad luck,' you are dead wrong and I suggest actually watching a baseball game every now and again while reassessing your unconditional devotion to numbers. Giving up 12 hits to the Blue Jays is not bad luck. Giving up a three run home run to Who's-That Tolleson with a three run lead is not bad luck. Giving up 4+ runs in more than a quarter of his starts is not bad luck. It's called occasionally inadequate pitching resulting in a no-decision.

There's not hope for the people who think Cliff Lee is not good. Those 'fans' should give up their interest in baseball and become Yankee fans already. But those with a fundamentalist devotion to statistics (sabermentalists? fundastatitions?) need to intermittently abandon the cause and admit that the numbers don't always tell you everything you need to know. They need to accept that a players poor performance might actually effect his outcome and that a great player can actually perform poorly on occasion without using statistics to blame something else.

- I think that Joe Savery is an idiot. While in the stretch, staring directly at first base, he decided to throw over despite having no defensive player occupying the base. Balk. Ummm, what???

A right handed pitcher could at least argue that he thought the first baseman was holding the runner as he doesn't have the clear view of the base. When I was a young pitcher, the first baseman left the base after I had gone into the stretch and I didn't notice before I threw over. That pick-off attempt did not go well. It happens. But Savery is looking directly at the base. He knows where every body on that side of the field is. So either 1) he doesn't know the rules 2) he balked on purpose 3) he had a partial seizure that resulted in uncontrolled left movement in an upward then forward motion, thus projecting that ball toward Ty Wiggington or 4) he's a complete moron who has no explanation for his actions.

- I think that if Chad Qualls is the best option for holding a small 8th inning lead, this might be the worst bullpen, outside of the closer, in the league. I'm so glad the Phillies demoted Raul Valdes. His 2.13 ERA was killing this team. If only he would have just thrown with his right hand and raised his ERA over five, he would have kept his spot in the 'pen...

- I think that if Chad Qualls is not the best option for holding a small 8thin inning lead then Charlie Manuel is terrible in-game manager and is costing this already bad team some much needed wins. For years, WSBGMs opinion on Charlie Manuel has essentially been this: he's great if the team is really good and doesn't rely on wit, guile or strategy from the manager to win games but a mediocre or worse team will struggle because his in-game deficiencies will cost victories. We've gotten beat up pretty hard because of our opinion that a manager can influence a significant number of games, even though 4-5 games a year can be the difference between the playoffs and higher draft pick. It can also be the difference between winning or losing a playoff series.

Now, I'm not calling for Charlie Manuel to get fired. Firing the manager when half of the team is hurt and the GM can't put together a decent bullpen would be ridiculous. I'm just saying that Manuel continues to be a poor in-game manager and the more the Phillies need wins, the more this becomes painfully frustrating.

- I think I'll not watch the game today in protest of garbage baseball (and because I won't be near a television, but let's still use the 'protest' reason...)

- I think that I don't want to go to work this morning, that Tiger Woods totally choked yesterday, that this was a pretty cathartic Sunday morning rant, that 'Grepolis' is a fun waste of time that I will tire of in one week, that this season is probably over but I won't give up hope, that Euro 2012 is terrific so far, and that many future posts will deal with which players to trade before August...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

HURT

Roy Halladay
Cliff Lee
Jim Thome
Laynce Nix
Vance Worley
Jose Contreras
Michael Stutes
David Herndon
Ryan Howard
Chase Utley
Michael Martinez
Freddy Galvis
and now...Chooch

Friday, June 15, 2012

Series Preview - Blue Jays

Phillies (31-34) v. Toronto Blue Jays (31-32)

[How horrible is this logo? Thank goodness teams have abandoned the trend to make "flashy" and "edgy" logos. Teams (and marketing geniuses) have finally figured out what fans knew all along, simple, classic, classy are always better than new, hip and ugly.]

Pitching Matchups:
Friday, 7:07 - Vance Worley v. Drew Hutchison
Saturday, 1:07 - Cliff Lee v. Ricky Romero
Sunday, 1:07 - Oh no, it's KK v. Henderson Alvarez

[:07 start times? Freakin' Canada.]

Blue Birds Batting:
Runs - 300 (5th)
Avg - .246 (22nd)
OBP - .312 (23rd)
Slug - .416 (10th)

Blue Birds Pitching:
ERA - 4.06 (19th)
WHIP - 1.34 (15th)
BAA - .246 (8th)

Their Danny Sandoval:
Omar Vizquel was born in 1967 and is still playing professional baseball. He just can't hit the baseball. He's posting career lows in average (.208) and OPS (.463).

Their Danys Baez:
Francisco Cordero is muy mal. Luckily the Jays signed Cordero to only a one year deal (worth a measly $4.5 million) because he has a 5.68 ERA in 30 games.

Magic Number Watch:
The Phillies magic number is making some pain-free rehab appearances down in Florida, but it's still not known when or if he'll be return this season...

Prediction:
Phils lose two of three.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Better Man- Phils Pitching Staff Remix

Hey, have you noticed the the Phillies pitching staff has turned into complete crap?  Well, I have.  Caused me to think back on the Pearl Jam parody of "Better Man" I did before the 2008 season.  Below is an updated version.

Better Man- Phils Pitching Staff Remix
Waiting, watching the game,
It’s the 4th inning, it’s got to stop,
Tell him, take no more, Manuel practices his speech
As he approaches the mound, he thinks it over.
Pretends to take the ball as he looks him over.
Manuel lies and says he’s alright with him,
Can’t find a better man.
Phans dream in color, Phans dreams in red,
Upset we can’t find a better man.
Can’t find a better man.
Ohh...

Talking to himself, there’s no one else who can pitch now,
He tells himself, oh...
Memories back when the rotation was bold and strong,
And waiting for the league to come along.
Swears he knew it was so, but now he swears it gone.
He lies and says he’s okay with him,
Can’t find a better man.
Phans curse in color, Phans are seeing red,
Pissed Amaro can’t find a better man.
Can’t find a better man!
Yeah...

We boo him, yeah...but he don’t want to leave this way.
We need him, yeah...that’s why he’ll be back again.
Can’t find a better man.
Kendrick ain’t a better man,
Can we get rid of Joe Blanton?
Schwimer n Qualls aren't better men,
Can’t find a better man,
Halladay is injured and,
We need a crafty veteran,
Or pen full of Papelbon-ans,
BJ Rosenberg ain’t the answer man,
Where is a better man?!
Ugh...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This Team Sucks

*There are currently only 3 other teams in baseball that are further out of 1st place in their division than the Phillies.  The Phils are 9.5 games back of the Nationals, while the Cubs are 12.5 behind the Reds, with the Rockies 14.5 and Padres 18.5 back of the Dodgers.

*The Phillies are the worst team in baseball over the past 10 games, having won only 1 of those contests.

*The almighty pitching staff has a 4.00 ERA.  The Phils allowed 8+ runs seven times last season. Last night's crapfest marked the ninth time they've done it in 2012. What a difference a year makes.

*Chase Utley went 0-5 with 3 K's in the first game of his rehab assignment.  Fans in Clearwater reportedly booed him after his final at bat.  I wouldn't boo, but I also don't blame those who did.  This is two straight spring trainings of the same bullshit lies.  How can you play through the postseason then come back to begin a new season after a few months off and be in worse pain and be unable to play?  Doesn't make sense.

*You know things are bad when the team's mascot is being sued.  That damn Phanatic, I always thought he'd get charged with sexual harassment, but never assault.

*I don't mean to be mean, but how dumb is Hunter Pence in the outfield? 

*How's that BJ Rosenberg call-up working out?  Oh, it's not.  Who could have predicted that?  Me!!!  Savery was saved from demotion instead of Valdes and has pitched like poop since.  Amaro is an idiot and so am I for giving a shit.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Series Preview - Twins

Phillies (29-33) at Minnesota Twins (24-35)

Pitching Matchups:
Tuesday, 8:10 - Oh great, it's KK v. Nick Blackburn
Wednesday, 8:10 - Cole Hamels v. PJ Walters
Thursday, 8:10 - Oh no, it's Joe v. Scott Diamond

Twins Batting:
Runs - 245 (22nd)
Avg - .252 (17th)
Slug - .386 (22nd)


Josh Willingham is having a really good year (.289-11-41) and the Twins are getting solid efforts from Denard Span, Ben Revere and Ryan No-mitt.  Joe Mauer is doing okay but not nearly enough to justify that salary (see below.) Justin Morneau (.247, 11 homers) is a ‘nice’ hitter but his days as an MVP candidate are over. Trevor Plouffe (9 HR) provides isolated power but little else.

Twins Pitching:
ERA - 5.05 (29th)
WHIP - 1.39 (26th)
BAA - .283 (29th)

Their Danny Sandoval:
Danny Valencia - .190-1-11 after 100 at-bats.

Their Ryan Howard:
Joe Mauer - Mauer, like Howard, is a very good player. Also like Howard, I'd love to have him on my team. But also like Howard, his contract sucks. He had an absolute monster year in 2009 and won the MVP (.365-28-96) so the Twins rewarded the Minnesota kid with the largest contract ever given to a catcher and the fourth largest contract in history. $184 million over 8 years. Fourth largest in history!!! Two and a half years later, Mauer is now a part-time catcher who hits around .300 and has hit 15 homers since signing the deal. That's right, for $23 million a year the Twins get a C/DH that hits .300-10-75. And they also get to be financially crippled.

What I'm Listening To:
Hüsker Dü - My favorite Minnesota band is The Hold Steady but I'm going old-school today and jamming out to my second favorite Minny band, Hüsker Dü. (I know, I know, the Replacements are awesome, yada, yada, yada.) I'm just going to start at "Makes No Sense At All" on youtube and keep going from there. My favorite thing about Hüsker Dü, besides Bob Moulds guitar playing and the umlauts, is that the bass player totally looks like Luigi from the Super Mario Bros.

What I'm Drinking:
Elysian Brewing - The Immortal IPA. My friend flies in the National Guard and picked up one of these 22 ounce bottle for me when he was in Washington state. Finally, my tax dollars benefit me!

Magic Number Watch:
The Phillies magic number is too busy watching Pirates games...

Prediction:
Phils take two of three, and if they don't I'll never pick them to win a series the rest of the year.


Monday, June 11, 2012

What does $76.5 million buy?

What does $76.5 million buy? Not much when Ruben Amaro is doing the shopping. Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley are collectively making $76.5M this season.

Collective 2012 Stats: 
Offense- .255 AVG (12-46), 3 R, 2 RBI.

Pitching- 21 GS, 143 IP, 4-8 record, 130 K, 3.59 ERA, 1.10 WHIP.

The Toronto Blue Jays, Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, and San Diego Padres all have lower payrolls than those four players.

I am sick.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Calling on Beck



Gotta wonder if Raul Valdes would have served up a game winning 2-run shot in the 12th the way BJ Rosenberg did.  I never thought I would say this, but that's a bad BJ!  Calling up a righty for the sake of having another right-hander pitcher in the bullpen despite already having a reliable lefty that was retiring batters from both sides of the plate is stupid.  The Phillies deserve to lose. And lose is the one thing they are doing well.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Valdes Gets Raw Deal

Raul Valdes was optioned to Triple-A.  Why?  Certainly not because of his performance, because he is one of the few stabilizing forces in the bullpen.  Nope, it's because of the ineffectiveness of Michael Schwimer and Chad Qualls.  See,  Schwimer and Qualls are right-handed and they each suck.  That leaves the only quality RHP in the bullpen as closer Jonathan Papelbon.  Valdes is a lefty, so he goes. Can't wait to see the crap Amaro calls up to replace Valdes.  Brian Sanches?  Phillippe Aumont?  There's nothing down on the farm screaming "give me a chance!"  Funny/sad thing is, Valdes held right-handed batters to a lower average than lefties (.130 vs. .200).  Not sure why fellow lefties Joe Savery and Jake Diekman stay over him, but I'm not GM, just a wannabe, so...

Valdes: 2-0, 11 G, 12.2 IP, 13 K, 2.13 ERA, 0.63 WHIP.
Joe Savery: 13 G, 17.1 IP, 9 K, 3.12 ERA, 1.04 WHIP.
Jake Diekman: 1-0, 10 G, 8.2 IP, 15 K, 4.15 ERA, 1.38.

Other Stuff:
*All of you Freddy Galvis fans need to brace yourselves...Freddy Galvis will likely be in a brace for roughly 6 weeks due to a back fracture.  Oh, no!!!

*My boy Mike Fontenot is not wasting his chance.  He clubbed a homerun last night and is batting .394/.989 in 17 games.

*Are you ready for a 2 game winning streak?  Of course you are.  With Tommy Hunter on the mound for the O's, this is a good time to make it happen.  A 5.59 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, .301 AVG against.  On second thought, he might toss his first career shutout.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Series Preview - Orioles

Phillies (28-31) v. Baltimore Orioles (32-25)

Pitching Matchups:
Friday, 7:05 - Joe Blanton v. Jake Arrieta
Saturday, 4:05 - Vance Worley v. Tommy Hunter
Sunday, 1:35 - Cliff Lee v. Jason Hammel

Birds Batting:
Runs - 246 (9th)
Avg - .247 (12th)
Slug - .422 (13th)

Birds Pitching:
ERA - 3.73 (8th)
WHIP - 1.28 (12th)
BAA - .249 (15th)

Their Danny Sandoval:
Inning-Endy Chavez is still playing and still making outs. He's hitting .159 with a .403 OPS. Honorable mention goes to perennial "Howard" contender Mark Reynolds and his .218 average. Problem for big Mark is that he's hit only 3 homers.

Their Danys Baez:
The Orioles do not have an arm in their bullpen with an ERA over 4.05.

Magic Number Watch:
The Phillies magic number is busy watching Euro 2012...

Prediction:
The Phillies will leave Baltimore still in last place in the NL East.
---------------------------------
Bad, Boring Baseball
The Phils are 3 games under .500, 6 games back in the NL East and 5 games back in the Wild Card. The season is NOT over. Anything can happen. It's becoming less likely, but I haven't given up. However, if I'm going to continue to watch I want the Phillies to do two things right now - 1) get rid of players who will not help the team and 2) create some interest. And here's how I want them to do it:

I love Jim Thome, but it's over. He can't play the field and if he DH's during interleague play, it will not go well. The Phillies need to let him go. And while they're buying bus tickets, get one for John Mayberry (to Lehigh Valley) Chad Qualls (to any city that doesn't have a pitching mound owned by the Phillies).

To create some interest, the Phils need to call up a young player or two. Just look at how the fans rooted for Freddy Galvis and his .220 average. There's something exciting about something new and something with potential. Remember Dom Brown? You think the fans (and maybe the team?) will be energized by a call-up. Sure, his "blue chip" status isn't what it used to be, but you don't think he can produce as much as John Mayberry?!?! Or how about a guy like Cody Overbeck. Overbeck, the 26 year old first baseman, can hit AAA pitching (.279-6-30 in 2012). Can he hit Major League pitching? Who knows, but now is the time to find out. And I'll bet if you put him at DH he'd get more hits than Jim Thome.

The Phils are on a pretty solid losing streak and they are playing putrid baseball, but how much more interested in tonight's game would you be if this was the lineup?

Pierre - LF
Polanco - 3B
Rollins - SS
Pence - RF
Victorino - CF
Ruiz - C
Brown - DH
Overbeck - 1B
Fontenot - 2B

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Cotton Eye Joe: Chuts & RyHo Remix

Cotton Eye Joe Remix
If it hadn't been for Chuts n RyHo
Phillies been winning months ago
Where did you come from where did you go
Where the hell are you Chuts n RyHo?

They left town like a passing storm
They abandoned the fields where their fame was born 
Their bats and gloves alone in the sun
Playing without them just isn't fun.

If it hadn't been for Chuts n RyHo
Phillies been winning months ago
Where did you come from where did you go
Where the hell are you Chuts n RyHo?

They brought disaster whenever they left
The hearts of the fans were to hell broken sent
Why they continue to pack the Cit nobody knows
and cry over the loss of Chuts n RyHo.

If it hadn't been for Chuts n RyHo
Phillies been winning months ago
Where did you come from where did you go
Where the hell are you Chuts n RyHo?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

These Are Sad Times

The following teams have a better record than the Phillies (and no, I'm not including the likes of the Yankees, Reds, Rangers, etc. that were expected to be good).

Baltimore Orioles 31-24
Chicago White Sox 31-24
Cleveland Indians 29-25
Washington Nationals 31-22
New York Mets 31-25
Pittsburgh Pirates 28-26

Philadelphia Phillies 28-29

These are sad times my friends.  Roy Halladay hurt.  Cliff Lee winless.  Chase Utley and Ryan Howard still with no timetable for return.  Maxed out payroll.  Depleted farm system.  Old, under-producing, overpaid lineup. Last place in the NL East.  Best pitcher set to become a free agent.  Yeah, it's like that...

(Guess I'm a fair weather fan, huh?)    

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Papelbon is a Closer, Not Just a General Use Pitcher

Jonathan Papelbon sure takes this closer's gig seriously.  The man is more "lights out" than Lidge was in '08 when it's a save situation.  However, flip the script and the man becomes Danys Baez bad.

Papelbon in save situations: 15 G, 15 IP, 14 K, 15 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP.

Papelbon in non-save situation: 9 G, 8.1 IP, 13 K, 2 L, 6.48 ERA, 1.56 WHIP.

Other Stuff:
*Dave Bush opted out of his Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs contract to sign on with a Korean team.  Good luck overseas.

*I hate to say umpiring cost the Phillies the game last night, but there were some blatantly missed calls.  Herrera was out twice in the 1st inning at 2nd base, but ruled safe each time, then went on to score the game's first run.  Oh, and what the hell happened to the ump's strike zone in the 9th inning?

*The Phillies are still in last place and are knotted up with 28 wins and losses.  Get used to it.

*For all the Phillies fans that want to brag about Freddy Galvis' hitting, take a closer look.  His OBP is .260, meaning he's making an out 74% of the time.  Don't get me wrong, the 24 RBI from the 8-hole are nice.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Series Preview - Dodgers

Phillies (28-27) v. LA Dodgers (33-21)

Pitching Matchups:
Monday, 7:00 - Vance Worley v. Clayton Kershaw
Tuesday, 7:05 - Cliff Lee v. Chad Billingsley
Wednesday, 7:05 - Oh great, it's KK v. Chris Capuano
Thursday, 1:05 - Cole Hamels v. Aaron Harang

Fagin's Apprentice Batting:
Runs - 232 (15th)
Avg - .269 (4th)
Slug - .405 (12th)

Matt Kemp is on the DL, so the Phils have that going for them. And after Andre Ethier, there's isn't much to be afraid of in the Dodger lineup. Of course, now that I've said that, James Loney will probably hit three homers tonight.

Fagin's Apprentice Pitching:
ERA - 3.27 (4th)
WHIP - 1.23 (6th)
BAA - .231 (2nd)

Kershaw has been great, as expected. But I don't think anybody predicted Chris Capuano busting out of the gate with a 7-2, 2.50 line. Chad Billingsley has continued to not live up to the hype and Aaron Harang looks like he hasn't slept in weeks but is pitching 'okay' after seemingly running out of gas in Cincy a few years ago.

Their Danny Sandoval:
Adam Kennedy is playing for his fifth team in five years. And's he gets worse every year. He's batting .213 with a .591 OPS after 80 at-bats.

Their Danys Baez:
Todd Coffey had a 7.20 ERA. Gone. Mike MacDougal had a 7.98 ERA. Gone. Only Jamey Wrigt and his 5.01 ERA remain.

What I'm Listening To:
Mandolin Rain by Bruce Hornsby. Why? For the same masochistic reason I'm going to watch the Phillies tonight.

What I'm Drinking:
Fegley Brewworks' Always Sunny Pale Ale. I totally bought this beer because of the packaging. I saw "always sunny" on the label and thought "mmmmm, cold beer for warm weather." While this is a really, really good beer, it's very hoppy. And since I do not like my summer beers to be overly hopped, I think I'll have one tonight with dinner and then put the rest in the garage until the weather cools. It will be perfect for a NLDS that I'm sure the Phillies will be playing in.

Magic Number Watch:
The Phillies magic number is too busy trying to figure out what percentage of horrible NBA refereeing is due to "fixing games" and what percentage is due to just complete, flat-out incompetence.

Prediction:
"The Phillies just seem bad." No, they are bad. Phils lose another series...

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Good or Bad Blanton

Good Blanton - 4 GS, 4 W, 30.1 IP, 2 BB, 24 K, 1.19 ERA, 0.73 WHIP.

Bad Blanton - 6 GS, 4 L, 31.1 IP, 8 BB, 24 K, 8.62 ERA, 1.88 WHIP.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

All Sorts of Injury Updates

Rehab:
Jim Thome and Michael Martinez began their rehab assignments in Clearwater yesterday.  Jimbo went 1-3 and Mini-Mart 1-4.

Question- Do we want either of these players back?  Martinez has options, so I would hope the Phils would send him to AAA.  Thome poses a threat pinch hitting and at DH during interleague games, but the players he'd be replacing on the roster have produced very well:  Hector Luna- .375/.983 with 9 RBI in 9 games, Pete Orr- .293/.749 in 22 games, and Mike Fontenot- .429/.976 in 11 games.  All three of them have versatility on the field, where Thome has shown his decrepit body can barely stand without injuring itself.  And yes, I know Erik Kratz is currently on the 25-man roster, but he will be sent to Lehigh Valley upon Worley's activation from the DL on Monday.

Injury:
Just when the 7th and 8th inning was beginning to lineup for the Phils, along comes a troublesome elbow.  Antonio Bastardo and Jose Contreras were bridging the gap to Papelbon, but Contreras is now DL bound, meaning Chad Qualls is back in the late inning picture.  Ugh!  Contreras appeared to be in a lot of pain last night after the pitch, so serious damage may have been done.  Also, consider he is a reported 40 years old (more likely about 48), so this could mean the end for him.  Just a hunch- I foresee Dave Bush being called up as a longman.

Also, Shane Victorino got a cortisone shot in his hand that has been bothering him when he bats left-handed.  He's day-to-day.  

Still Hurt:
Reports have Chase Utley and Ryan Howard not being ready until July at the earliest.  Remember all that bullshit about Utley just taking it slow in Spring Training and he'd be fine to ramp up activities and be ready for the season?  Remember how Howard was ahead of schedule at one point and there was talk of him being ready shortly after Opening Day?  Gotta love being lied to.

Laynce Nix still is aching and there is no timetable for his return.  Last heard word on David Herndon- received a platelet rich plasma injection in his right elbow Tuesday, the Phillies' official website reports. (Tue May 22) and Michael Stutes- Ruben Amaro Jr. said Stutes (shoulder) will be shut down for another 10 days to two weeks, the Phillies' official website reports. (Tue May 22).

Friday, June 01, 2012

Series Preview - Miami Marlins

Phillies (27-25) v. Florida Marlins (29-22)

Pitching Matchups:
Friday, 7:05 - Oh great, it's KK v. Mark Buehrle
Saturday, 4:05 - Cy Hamels v. Ricky Nolasco
Sunday, 1:35 - Oh Jeebus, it's Joe v. Carlos Zambrano

Billfish Batting:
Runs - 204 (20th)
Avg - .246 (20th)
Slug - .381 (23rd)

Billfish Pitching:
ERA - 3.60 (8th)
WHIP - 1.27 (12th)
BAA - .250 (15th)

Their Danny Sandoval:
Gaby Sanchez went for .266-19-78 last season. That's not great, but it's respectable. This season he's hitting .179 with a .539 OPS. That line earned him a recent demotion to AAA. Chris Coghlan hit .321 over 500 at-bats in 2009. Since then he's hit only .241, bottoming out this season at .136 in his first 66 at-bats. He was demoted at the end of April be rejoined the team two weeks ago but is only 5-33 (.151) since rejoining the team.

Their Danys Baez:
Mike Dunn had a 9.58 ERA before joining Gaby Sanchez in New Orleans a week ago. So the honor goes to multimillion dollar closer Heath Bell and his 7.20 ERA. But the Phillies should beware because apparently he "got things fixed."

Magic Number Watch:
The Phillies magic number is still convinced that I'm a 'frontrunner' and is refusing to make an appearance on this blog...

Prediction:
Who cares who wins? Really. Let's just enjoy the games. Enjoy the long, slow walk to the mound Charlie makes when he pulls KK in the fourth inning. Enjoy quick glimpses of our plethora of All-Stars eating sunflower seeds on the bench. Enjoy Hunter Pence's plate discipline and strict adherence to proper technique and situational hitting.

[Seriously, somehow the Phils will take two from this series. They shouldn't, which means they probably will...]